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Author Topic: December changes - all about more and faster journeys to London  (Read 2770 times)
grahame
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« on: October 13, 2019, 11:11:26 am »

The December timetable change hailed at the Stakeholder event on Friday as the culmination of the GW modernisation plan like turning the key in the ignition and bringing the whole thing to life.  Until now, we have been running "electric trains in diesel timings". What was striking was just how London-centric the timetable changes are, not only in what they are but what they are planned to do.  In that talk, three bullet points one after another I noted:
- case for funding made on faster travel and more seats to London. So the timetable must bring that
- business say that they need faster London transits from places across the west
- more places need to be brought into the practical London commuter belt as the city grows
with no comment about intermediate / regional changes in those objective headlines.

GWR team members including timetabling experts, and some technically informed community members, have worked together to mitigate negative changes on existing regional and local passengers but there will be some.  And looking to those discussions, everyone acknowledged the need, at times, to clear past anomalies and historic provision that benefit a few, but stand in the way of progress. I'm happy to report that after some very serious misgivings some 15 months ago, the balance has been somewhat tipped by fine tunings to be much more in equilibrium. 

From the stakeholder meeting, and in checking timetables for the TransWilts line and drafting content for the next Melksham Train Guide, I have come across a number of things that will effect journeys... here's an idea of some of them across the broad Bristol 'patch'

* Due to a shortage of paths at Bristol Parkway (with the extra "superfasts" going through there), some local services including peak ones from Weston are cut back to Filton Abbey Wood, or to Temple Meads, I believe.  One delegate talked of a significant gap being opened up in the morning peak.

* The 06:56 from Frome is moved 6 minutes earlier, sits longer (13 minutes) at Westbury and now terminates at Filton Abbey Wood at 08:27 rather than Bristol Parkway. (this is the train from Weymouth)

* The 07:12 from Warminster to Salisbury and Southampton now leaves at 07:03 arrives Southampton at 08:08 after a 13 minute timetabled pause at Salisbury.

* TransWilts southbound Monday to Friday services are reduced from 9 to 8 per day, with gaps between trains increased from a two hour
norm during the day to multiple 2.5 hour gaps.  Good news is that the remaining 8 trains are spread slightly wider - last train from swindon is inched back from 20:08 to 20:45 (but, really, there should be a later train if GWR and the government want to encourage Melksham and Trowbridge via Melksham to become commuter towns, as the new early northbound train might suggest)

* Peak gaps in service emerge into Swindon departures from Chippenham previously 08:00, 08:25, 08:45 and 08:56 becomes 08:02, 08:15, 08:56 so gap up from 25 minutes to 41 minutes.  From Bristol Parkway, passengers used to catching the 08:03 will have to travel on the earlier 07:50 or later 08:29.

The examples above are morning ones for the most part... I suspect I could find similar evening changes.

Fare changes are a concern too - with some of the Cotswold line and Berks and Hants concessions that have been in place for decades no longer applicable.  A walkup off peak single at 32.40 is currently valid on the 08:10 from Pewsey to Paddington, where the train arrives at 09:23 - the following train (10:18) not reaching London until 11:21.  From 16th December, the 08:10 leaves at 08:17 but is faster and arrives into London at 09:19. The off peak ticket is no longer available - walk up fare is 60 rather than 32.40 (and I think set to rise further in January).  A new train at 09:30 (London arrival 10:29) is now available at 32.40

People who use the 08:10 Pewsey service from time to time (perhaps a couple of times a week) to get to their offices and have become used to the off-peak fare are less than pleased this can have a severe impact on their budgets.  And especially as they had no trains at all for some 50 days last year because of all the improvements that were coming faster journeys are great, but significant price rises are not something they had been alerted to.

Posting under Bristol Commuters - but really applies to just about all commuters within the swathe of land west of Didcot and east of Exeter! ...
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DaveHarries
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2019, 11:53:54 pm »

One I have just spotted. The 0605 Frome - London Paddington, arr. 0808, will now depart Frome at 0612hrs to arrive into Paddington at 0801. A comparison of the two dates reveals no changes in calling pattern.

Dave
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metalrail
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2019, 10:51:54 am »

Have come into this a bit late having been away for a few weeks, and shocked to see the vast withdrawal of local services from BPW that I often use!

Whilst I always understood the idea of introducing additional IET services through BPW, including new direct BRI - BPW - PAD services, I was under the impression that the re-four tracking of Filton Bank was to enable more frequent long distance AND local trains to be able to run concurrently.  This was also the plan with the additional platforms built at BPW, which over the past few years have been great both for being able to increase the local stopping service patterns, and also for accommodating late running XC & GW long distance trains to reduce delays

The fact that the majority of local services through the Bristol corridor from BPW is being effectively decimated in this new timetable change, in order to provide yet more fast services to London (which as we all know is the only thing that seems to matter to rail services these days) seems very short sighted, especially when there's so much emphasis right now on improving air quality and reducing congestion on Bristol's roads

Just a few examples of trains I currently use (using both the hourly Malvern / Worcester to Weymouth / Brighton etc, or more frequently the hourly Parkway to Weston services) on which I can get a train EVERY HOUR during the day - but from the new timetable change, the last train of the morning i'll be able to get to Stapleton Road / Lawrence Hill from Parkway is 07:02 until the evening peak, and to Bedminster / Parson Street / Yatton / Nailsea & Backwell is 08:13, again until the evening peak

Also much worse from Yate, where after the single daily 06:53 departure there will no longer be any stopping services to Lawrence Hill & Stapleton Road at all.  Again, we were promised more frequent local stopping services along the corridor up to Yate, but instead these existing stopping services are now being withdrawn

Looks like Filton are gaining much more of the stopping services withdrawn from BPW, but that hardly helps those with BPW as their main local station - especially with it being a Park & Ride station - plus BPW is the one with more long distance stopping services to enable changes to local ones compared with FIT.  From the looks of the new timetable, all local trains will now require connections at BRI, leaving BPW as mainly just a long distance station with much fewer local connections than before

A real big backward step it seems, and one that really does seem to fly in the face of the plans to improve local services, as it will - very regretably - be putting me back in my car more than before
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 11:16:07 am by metalrail » Logged

Oh for the day when I can catch a train from Mangotsfield to the Centre, Bath and Yate!  ;-)
SandTEngineer
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2019, 11:17:26 am »

Yes, but there is still a big two-track 'bottle neck' between Filton and Parkway, with constraining flat junctions at each end.  I suspect that is the reason for curtailing the services back at Filton, with the four-track section south of Filton being the thing allowing those additional services from the South to/from there.

I once worked on resolving a similar problem in the depths of the Southeast, and its amazing what you can achieve with a Flying Junction....... Cool
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 11:23:14 am by SandTEngineer » Logged

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stuving
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2019, 12:11:47 pm »

Here's an obvious lie: I don't like saying "I told you so". When we were discussing the new track layout that came with four-tracking, I pointed out that timetabling options would be limited because there is no route either way between Parkway and platforms 3 and 4 at Filton. I put it in terms of a shortage of fast paths (necessarily via platforms 1 and 2) if all the local trains run, but obviously vice versa is true too:
Rower40 posted a warning a while back (here) about limited platforming options at Filton Abbey Wood until the timetable gets rewritten. However, that may not help a lot given the restrictions of the track layout.

A path via platforms 1 and 2 can take any track or route, north or south. However, for platforms 3 and 4 only paths using the Relief Lines to the south and going via Patchway are possible. So P1/2 must accommodate all trains using the Mains and all trains via Parkway.

Currently the primary stopping service reaching FIT is provided by trains via or to/from Parkway, plus a few to Cardiff, and the Severn Beach trains use part of the line only. If that is still the pattern, then the capacity is limited to that of one pair of platforms and tracks, plus however many south Wales trains also use the Reliefs (but may not stop). Filton Bank as a whole is only a short stretch of line, so mixing fast and slow paths will work, but any increase in the number of stopping trains reduces the number and speed of available non-stop paths using P3/4 at FIT.

Ha'porth of tar, anyone?
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2019, 12:51:56 pm »

The fact that the majority of local services through the Bristol corridor from BPW is being effectively decimated in this new timetable change, in order to provide yet more fast services to London (which as we all know is the only thing that seems to matter to rail services these days) seems very short sighted, especially when there's so much emphasis right now on improving air quality and reducing congestion on Bristol's roads

The official answer - Chris Heaton-Harris with Mark Hopwood also on stage - is that the investment and business case for it on the GWR mainline is based on an improved (more and quicker journey time) London trains.  "The service improvements are the final step of the investment, and without them the investment could not have been made".

I heard overnight that I've been chosen to ask a question at the hustings in Bradford-on-Avon tomorrow night.  It will be very interesting to hear our candidate's responses.

Quote
"Transport is now the biggest contributing sector to CO2 emissions, with just a 2% fall in recent times. And a typical journey by private car generates 3 times the CO2 as the same journey by public transport.

"So we are encouraged to use public transport but services are being reduced. Melksham lost six buses a day to Bath bus earlier this month. It looses trains in the middle of the day next month and that leaves service gaps of 2.5 hours. Bus fares went up in November. Rail fares go up in January. A lot of money has been spent on the railway bringing more and faster trains to London from Chippenham and Westbury but at the same time degrading journeys witihin the Western Gateway area region.

"How will you and your party help to improve sustainable daily local public transport for the future in the Chippenham constituency, and for the region?"
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metalrail
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2019, 02:06:04 pm »

The official answer - Chris Heaton-Harris with Mark Hopwood also on stage - is that the investment and business case for it on the GWR mainline is based on an improved (more and quicker journey time) London trains.  "The service improvements are the final step of the investment, and without them the investment could not have been made".

I totally get about the improvements to the GWR mainline and how the new IET services fit into it.  However, this is now being introduced totally against what was promised to us for Bristol

The actual promises made with the re-quadrupling of filton bank were both "More trains, more often", and "More local services"

I understand the capacity limitations at both BPW itself, and the double line bottle neck between BPW and FIT

However, following the introduction of the 3rd (now platform 4) platform at BPW over 10 years ago, a new cross-city service was introduced running hourly both ways between WSM and BPW.  Prior to the introduction of the 4th (now platform 1) platform only a couple of years ago, we also had the regular stopping services on the Worcester / Malvern services coming through on the Yate corridor.  There was capacity for all of these services even before the 4th platform at BPW was introduced, which then added even more additional capacity

To allow for the introduction of yet more IET services through BPW (we already have 2 an hour anyway), not only are we not gaining additional local services, we're actually LOSING pretty much ALL of the off-peak local services we already have, and on the Yate corridor this is being reduced to literally 1 per day!

How on earth has this been allowed to happen, and with the promises made for yet more additional local services going forward, how can these possibly be introduced when they're now dropping the existing main cross-city service to cater for the new IET's?

It's one thing not to deliver additional services, but to actually withdraw them from a city that's infamous for being close to gridlocked on a daily basis is beyond madness



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Oh for the day when I can catch a train from Mangotsfield to the Centre, Bath and Yate!  ;-)
grahame
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2019, 10:01:25 pm »

Problem of local trains stopping short of Filton Abbey Wood - update from Bristol shared with me

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GWR have put the attached leaflet together and are working very closely with Network Rail to resolve, and they also have Meet the Manager events at both stations in the morning peak this week so customers are aware of the change.

To help GWR have a ticket easement allowing travel via Bristol Temple Meads, and the leaflet also details bus journeys through to key end destinations from Filton Abbeywood.

Apparently the London services and the Crosscountry services which are also an issue here, cannot be moved as they have to fit into tight slots at Paddington and Birmingham.  GWR had thought that they could still get their trains through to Bristol Parkway, but when NR System Operator assessed the paths their view was that they would not work. GWR reviewed each train as you can see from the leaflet they have together managed to find paths for several trains which do now go through to Bristol Parkway.  There is still an issue, especially in the off peak, but GWR have a ticket easement in place, and they will be happy to hear from customers to help find alternative bus routes to their final destination.  Network Rail Wales and Western are working with GWR on the solution and while this is not what either GWR or NR want to deliver in December, they are working hard to have a good solution in place in May.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2019, 10:13:37 am »

I've moved other posts concerning Bristol Locals to a new topic at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=22622.msg278622#msg278622
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